Drug regulator goes on trial
The country's disgraced former top drug regulator went on trial yesterday accused of taking bribes to approve untested medicine, a court official said, in a case highlighting the safety problems in the country's drug and food chains. An official of the press office of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court, who would give only his surname Wang, confirmed that the trial of Zheng Xiaoyu (鄭筱萸), former director of the State Food and Drug Administration, had started. The trial comes as China's international image for food and drug safety has been tarnished with allegations that tainted ingredients from Chinese companies ended up in products blamed for deaths in Panama and for killing pets in the US.
Court denies using feng shui
A court in Guangdong Province, where several corrupt judges have been arrested, has denied hiring a feng shui master to change its luck, a state-run newspaper said on Tuesday. The China Daily quoted an official from the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court as saying there was no truth to the allegation even though there has been some remodeling at the court. Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of trying to place things to achieve harmony with the environment. It is common for businesses and households to change furniture and even placements of doors according to feng shui principles to overcome bad luck.
Toys linked to bombs
The country banned the sale of remote-controlled children's toys because of fears they could be turned into detonators for bombs, a local weekly journal reported on Tuesday. Toys such as model motor cars, planes and robots have been banned in Yangon since the first week of May, the Weekly Eleven journal said, quoting shop owners in the commercial capital. The toys in question were mostly imported from neighboring countries, the paper said, and the authorities would take action against anyone selling them.
■ SOUTH KOREA
Cult leader arrested
A cult leader accused of raping his female followers has been arrested in China and will face extradition, the justice ministry said yesterday. Jeong Myeong-seok, 62, set up a cult known as JMS after his initials. He fled South Korea in 1999, a day after rape allegations against him were aired on national television, Yonhap news agency said. Jeong was formally charged with rape in 2001 and arrested in Hong Kong in 2003 on visa violations. He fled an extradition hearing but was detained by Chinese authorities early this month. Former cult members, mostly young girls, have told police they were told to undress for a "health check" and to have sex with him to wipe out their sins.
Suu Kyi supporters detained
Authorities briefly held 15 supporters of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday, bringing the number rounded up in just two days to 55, activists said. The crackdown comes ahead of a May 27 review of her house arrest, which is expected to be extended further by the military-run state. Myo Min Soe, a youth member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, said he and 14 others were arrested yesterday morning as they left a pagoda after praying for the release of the democracy icon. Forty people who were arrested at two different locations in Yangon remain in detention, an activist said.